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Cancer isn’t about numbers, it’s about people

By Staff
On Friday and Saturday hundreds of local residents took to the field at Washington High School to demonstrate the human courage it takes to win the battle with cancer.
With four bagpipers proceeding them, local cancer survivors made the first lap across the track. In the hours that followed, hundreds more followed. Individuals may have walked for different reasons, but the bottom line was their efforts raised both money for cancer research and awareness of cancer’s toll.
Relay For Life started this time of the year in 1985 in Tacoma, Wash. Dr. Gordy Klatt, a surgeon, spent 24 hours circling the track at the University of Puget Sound. He raised $27,000.
Last year some $375 million was raised. In 2006 more than three million people took part in 4,600 Relays in the U.S. Over 500,000 cancer survivors walked in the opening lap and $375 million was raised. That makes it by far the biggest single fundraising activity in the world.
The event in Washington raised at least $166,135 due in part to the efforts of people like Fred Barrett of Blounts Creek.
Barrett lost his mother to ovarian cancer. His sister found out she had breast cancer at the age of 38. His wife, Cynthia, was diagnosed with colon cancer five years ago and Barrett himself is going through his second round with prostate cancer.
And they have.
Cynthia Barrett just got a checkup a few days ago and “everything came back good,” according to her husband. “Five years is a big milestone with cancer, so we’re excited,” he said.
He got a checkup in January that revealed some cancerous cells, so Barrett just finished his rounds of chemotherapy a few weeks ago.
The kitchen tile he was laying when he got that “life-altering” phone call is still in good shape, he said.
It’s an attitude like that which means cancer isn’t unbeatable.
Public agrees with Jones on war
(This editorial originally appeared in the Wilson Daily Times.)
Third Congressional District Republicans angry at U.S. Rep. Walter Jones over his opposition to the war in Iraq might want to think twice before they try to sabotage Jones.
A number of conservative Republicans, including some in the Wilson area, are upset that Jones has opposed President Bush on the Iraq war. Most recently, Jones was one of a handful of Republicans voting for a Democratic-sponsored deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
Some Wilson Republicans sent Jones a letter last year criticizing his lack of support for the war. This grumbling could lead to an intra-party challenge to Jones next year that could weaken his chances for re-election.
Jones has confidently defended his position on the war. An early supporter of the war, Jones changed his mind when it became clear that the Bush administration’s premise for the war — ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction — was false, and the U.S. strategy in Iraq was deeply flawed.
And despite his critics’ complaints that Jones does not support the troops, Jones has taken a personal interest in the troops. It has been his policy to write personal letters of condolence to the families of each one of the more than 3,200 service members who have been killed in Iraq. That’s a commitment to troops few members of Congress can match.